34

It is a very irresponsible question.

I had a Java interview scheduled today. I went near the office location and on the way I realized that I was not ready for the interview. The last year at my current job has been a very draining experience due to which I have been unable to polish my skills (no excuses) - which is one of the reasons I was looking for another job in the first place.

On my way to the interview I realized I had not brushed up on my skills for a long time. Previously I have been very good at giving interviews, but this time it occurred to me that it would be a disaster so I just went back home without giving the interview.

Is there anything I should do in order to avoid being blacklisted (if possible)?

  • 5
    This is more of a morale question...rather than a workplace...do you know even when you will be ready? – Sourav Ghosh Mar 22 at 14:28
  • 2
    So you went looking for a new job, applied for one, got an interview, accepted the interview date, got to the date, started driving to the interview, and only then realised that you had not done any preparation for it? So you turned around and drove home without telling anybody? Mate... – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 24 at 13:25
  • this isn't a full answer, but you should have gone in. I'm not saying this to make you feel bad, just want to emphasize that driving to the interview is THE HARDEST PART for someone like me (and I believe probably you) to do. This is when all the self-doubt settles in. You just have to remember that you will gain nothing positive from bailing, and will gain only positives from showing up. that's not even considering that they saw your resume and wanted you to interview, let them make the decision if you're capable or not. You may be surprised to find out they think you're better than you think – Sdarb Mar 25 at 21:14
105

I personally would place a phone call or email to let them know that something came up that you weren't able to make it, and that you had decided to stay where you are rather than seek a new position. Thank them for the time, apologize for not being there when you said you would.

  • 127
    @Anonymous - As an extra note, in future I would advise going to the interview anyway - the worst that will happen is you'll fail, won't get the job and be in no worse a position than you are now, but you will have gained valuable experience and knowledge on the type of things that get asked in interviews which will help prepare you for future interviews. Additionally - you may find the knowledge comes back to you as you talk and if you show enough enthusiasm, and they are desperate enough for an employee, you might find yourself in a better position than you think! – colmde Mar 22 at 15:06
  • Thanks @colmde for the advice. This is exactly why I traveled for the interview and did not ask them to cancel it. I guess I got scared of the mean comments/taunts that I would get :( – Anonymous Mar 22 at 15:10
  • 31
    Professional interviewers should not give you mean comments or taunts. If they do, be glad - you don't want to work for that company. – CompuChip Mar 22 at 17:34
  • 8
    @colmde You should make that an answer so it can be upvoted. The fear of rejection is much more powerful than the actual rejection. I suspect that if the OP went to the interview and got rejected it would weigh much less heavy on them than not going. Don't miss chances. Embrace failure. – xyious Mar 22 at 18:11
  • 2
    they also may want to hire OP based on their personality, interests, team dynamic, experience...; they're hiring a person, not a Java machine! – CCJ Mar 22 at 20:05
27

Admit it: You're never going to be as "ready" as you want to be, there'll be always room for improvement.

What you did is wrong on multiple fronts, but I'm not going to start criticizing you as you clearly see you're the one with the faults.

You need to do two things:

  • As of now, for the "damage control", you can call them (or email, but call is preferred) and inform that something unavoidable came up and you were not able to make it to the interview. Also tell them you realized that you were not fully prepared to handle the interview and so to save everyone any further trouble, you did not finally show up. Apologize for the time which is wasted because of you.

    Then politely ask for a rescheduling (though it is unlikely you'll get one) and leave it to them.

  • For future: to ensure this does not happen again, make sure you have your self-confidence boosted before you plan to appear for an(other) interview. That said, remember, it's better to appear and fail than having a no-show.

    The first approach will

    • At most cost you the time and effort to have the interview
    • You'll gain invaluable experience and confidence.

    The second one will

    • Cost you your "reputation" and "trustworthiness". (very hard to regain)
    • You will gain nothing.
  • Thanks @Sourav. I know I screwed up. I was not confident due to the mentioned reason. I have been too loyal to my current company for too long and it has cost me :( Will follow your advise – Anonymous Mar 22 at 14:49
  • 3
    @Anonymous Believe me, nothing you did, cannot be undone. Leave the past, gear up and prepare to face the future. The future will be what you make of it. Best of luck. – Sourav Ghosh Mar 22 at 14:50
  • 9
    I don't see a reason to tell them you are unprepared. Other wise i agree with Sourav – jesse Mar 22 at 15:04
  • 1
    @jesse That is because, they'll know you're telling the truth (some people are pretty good judge of others). At least, you'll know you are telling the truth. Telling the truth may not help you achieve anything, but neither will lying. – Sourav Ghosh Mar 22 at 15:06
  • Why do you think a call is preferred? Honestly if the main communication had been e-mail, I would think an e-mail is just as appropriate. – Tas Mar 24 at 0:06
5

It would seem polite to contact the company and apologize for the no-show. It's ok to say that you don't feel that you were fully prepared for the interview and admit that it might have been better to contact them as soon as you decided not to progress further.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to give the interviewers back the time that they wasted waiting for you to turn up.

All you can do is be honest with them.

  • thanks @Snow... – Anonymous Mar 22 at 19:27
  • At a large majority of interviews I've been on, the interviewers were working until they were told I had showed up, so more than likely they were still productively working instead of doing nothing and sitting in a conference room. There's a good chance no significant time was lost, so essentially "no harm, no foul". However, that doesn't automatically excuse the no-show. The OP just shouldn't beat themselves up for what was likely a minimal disturbance to the people and company. – computercarguy Mar 22 at 21:02
  • @computercarguy In my previous job I had a 125 mile commute to the office, to which I would travel once every week or two. I had travelled in specially on a particular day, to run an interview for a new team member, who then cancelled. This involved getting up very early, cancelling social engagements, getting home late, sitting in much traffic for hours. In that case, the candidate did at least phone to let us know that they'd taken another job, so it wasn't their "fault" per se, and OP's interviewers may live locally, but to suggest that there is deffo "no harm done" here is laughable. – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 24 at 13:28
  • (cont.) Indeed, if said candidate hadn't even bothered to let us know that they'd changed their mind, even if I were already there waiting for them, I'd have been extremely irritated and good luck getting a job in the company of anyone I knew ;) – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 24 at 13:29
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit I'll have to remind you that I said "There's a good chance no significant time was lost". I'd have to say that your experience was out of the norm and, as much as it inconvenienced you, the OP has no way of knowing if this happened to them, so they shouldn't hold themselves accountable for a "worst case scenario" or situations that are less than likely to occur. If we allowed that, we could pin companies folding, parents missing their child's first steps, or 1000's of other things on any action anyone does, which is no in any way accurate or healthy. – computercarguy Mar 25 at 15:47
2

Very few people are ready for an interview. As with everything, practice makes perfect, and that includes job interviews. Just don't waste their time going to interviews for jobs you never intend to accept. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you get rejected. And rejected you will be, over and over again. This happens to everyone and is something you should consider a part of a learning process. Don't take it personal, but instead learn something from each one.

So to answer your question; Don't focus on one company. Never back out because you don't consider yourself prepared well enough. Even if you screw up the interview you can always apply at a later stage.

You should also apologize to the company you left hanging. Not because you want to save the situation but because it's the right thing to do.

  • 1
    There are actually good reasons for going on interviews to places you don't expect to accept a job from. This goes into the "practice makes perfect" as well as simply scoping out options. Even if someone isn't actively looking, they should still be "open to opportunities", and that can include an interview. This can also signal to their current employer that they "need" extra incentive to stay, such as a raise or more benefits. Some employers can take it as a reason to fire or red flag an employee, so it depends on the company culture whether it's safe or not. – computercarguy Mar 22 at 21:06
  • @computercarguy Please don't waste people's time like that. (This has been covered on Workplace before) There are plenty of ways to get interview practice without lying to people and wasting their time – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 24 at 13:30
0

Personally when it comes to technical interview I always like to attend them, even when I know my chances are low.

Showing up and doing those is a good thing and can provide valuable information:

  • Highlight your current skills in a pseudo-real-life situation so that you know what to improve.
  • This may be a good opportunity to learn something new of gain new insight if the interview is with people
  • Practice those skills and see if you are a proper fit for them ( you are also evaluating how they evaluate you and what they are looking for in a candidate)
  • With some luck and a good attitude and a desire to learn and improve, you may be the best candidate they interview even if you think you did poorly.

If you missed, try to contact them, apologize, then try to reschedule a new one if they are still interested.

Otherwise everyone is at a loss.

I hope this helps.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.